Visceral Leishmaniasis in Asymptomatic Dogs: A Serologic Study
Clinically infected dogs have been identified as the main reservoir hosts of visceral leishmaniosis (VL) caused by Leishmania infantum. Recently asymptomatic infected dogs were regarded as important as clinically ill dogs. This study was aimed to determine the seroprevalence of L. infantum infection among asymptomatic dogs in southwest and central parts of Iran and to investigate possible risk factors associate to this infection. 548 serum samples were collected from dogs in three Iranian provinces and subjected to direct agglutination test (DAT) in dilutions of 1:80 to 1:20480. Fifty three (9.67 %) of the dogs had detectable anti- L. infantum antibodies at dilutions of ≥1:80. Living status of the dogs (household or free roaming) was a potential risk factor for the infection; seroprevalence was significantly higher in free roaming dogs (P<0.001). Dogs of more than 2 years old had significantly higher infection rate in compare with younger dogs (P<0.001). No significant statistical differences were seen between seroprevalences of the male and female dogs. The results of this study shows relatively high sero-prevalence of L. infantum infection in evaluated regions and higher seroprevalence in old and free roaming dogs shows the importance of environmental contamination and access of the dogs to the other reservoir hosts.
Keywords - Visceral Leishmaniosis, Leishmania infantum, Dogs, Iran.